Posted May 20, 2019 at 11:31 AM Updated May 20, 2019 at 11:31 AM
To the Editor:
In March of this year 74 of our New Hampshire state representatives voted in favor of allowing the people of New Hampshire to vote on the New Hampshire Community Rights state constitutional amendment affirming the right of local self-government. Some 282 representatives voted to effectively undermine the efforts of New Hampshire communities that have enacted local ordinances saying no to corporate harms and yes to environmental and social justice.
Barnstead residents watched for years as sludge, laced with carcinogens from Monsanto and other toxic industries, was dumped on farmlands impacting groundwater. We then looked on as our neighbors in the town of Nottingham fought the USA Springs takeover of their water resources. Barnstead residents subsequently enacted a rights-based ordinance asserting our right to control and protect our water resources. And recently Barnstead enacted a freedom from religious identification ordinance in response to burgeoning religious intolerance.
The NH Community Rights Amendment would have protected these ordinances — as well as those enacted in numerous NH towns fighting pipelines and other corporate harms — from state preemption and would have specifically enumerated the right to local self-government affirmed in the NH State Constitution’s Bill of Rights.
Ask your representatives if they voted to support local decision-making, the NH Community Rights Amendment, or if they chose to yield to party pressure and bow to corporate donors. Ask them if they will, in the future, recognize the constituency they are serving and understand that the people most affected by decisions should be the ones making those decisions.
People all over New Hampshire are working with the New Hampshire Community Rights Network to realize true local self-government so we can dismantle the power structures that have kept us at the mercy of corporate greed. It’s time that all of our legislators support the people’s work that will sustain and enrich our communities. Kudos to the 74 legislators who did.
Diane St. Germain, NHCRN Board member